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Athens also investigates the main organizer of the terrorist attacks in Paris

16 November 2015 / 16:11:35  GRReporter
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Last January, the Greek authorities conducted a secret investigation to capture 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaund, who is considered the organizer of the terrorist attacks in Paris. The investigation was initiated as a result of the evidence that Abaund managed from Athens the core of jihadists that was broken in the Belgian town Verviers at the beginning of the year.

On 15 January, in parallel with the massive police operation in Belgium, an investigation took place in the centre of Athens to find the owner of a mobile phone, through which the suspect led the Belgian jihadists.

According to a well-informed source of the Greek daily Kathimerini, the investigation took place in the area around the central Omonia Square where the signal of the mobile phone was detected and involved members of the Greek office for combating terrorism and representatives of foreign security services.

At the same time, their Belgian colleagues raided the lodgings of suspects in Verviers, two of whom were killed during the operation and one was arrested. According to the Belgian authorities, jihadists were preparing to attack a police target.

A senior representative of the Greek Ministry of Public Order had revealed that Europol representatives had urgently arrived in Athens in connection with the operation to find and apprehend fugitive Abdelhamid Abaund known by the code name "Omar".

According to Kathimerini, the Belgian authorities intercepted telephone conversations between members of the core in Belgium and their accomplice in Athens as early as 2 January. The secret investigation in the Greek capital on 15 January did not find him and the SIM card was inactive after the police action in Verviers. The Greek police authorities requested urgent information from the local mobile operators and found out that the antennas of mobile operators in the region of the Pangkrati neighbourhood near the centre of Athens were activated by one of the telephones, which was believed to have been used by the head of the core of jihadists in Belgium.

Two days after the first investigation in Omonia Square, the Greek police found the 33-year-old Algerian citizen Omar Damas and another man in a ground floor flat in Pangkrati and apprehended them. There is information that another flat in the centre of Athens was under investigation too. The investigating authorities initially thought that the 33-year-old man was the suspected fighter of the Islamic State Abdelhamid Abaund.

Although the identification procedure that took place in cooperation with the Belgian authorities did not prove this, the authorities found on the detainee the mobile phone that had activated one of the suspicious SIM cards.

For this reason, the Belgian prosecutor's office requested Damas’s extradition. Now he is in a Belgian prison on charges of terrorism. According to the Greek police archives, Omar Damas had been in Greece since 2011 and lay in a Greek prison for committing robberies.

Following the events in January the Greek anti-terrorism service carried out an investigation to establish the possible links between 33-year-old Damas and Abaund, and a Greek citizen of Syrian origin, who joined the ranks of the fighters of the Islamic State.

According to a publication in the Belgian edition of Der Standaar, Abdelhamid Abaund was associated with the planned terrorist attacks in Verviers in January, which were thwarted. He was presented as a leader and main "sponsor" of the attacks. Both Brahim Abdeslam who blew himself up on Voltaire Avenue in Paris on Friday and Abaund were acquaintances of the Belgian authorities in connection with criminal acts committed in the country in the period 2010-2011.

According to RTL TV, today Abaund is in Syria and he is one of the "most active thugs" of the Islamic State. He was in direct contact with one of the participants in the terrorist attacks in Paris, who lived in the same neighbourhood in Brussels.

In July, after his departure for Syria, Abdelhamid Abaund was sentenced in absentia to 20 years imprisonment by a Brussels court in the trial against the participants in networks that recruited Belgian jihadists, who had to leave for Syria.

In 2014, his picture appeared in the headlines in Belgium in connection with the kidnapping of his own 13-year-old brother Younes, whom he took with him to Syria. Younes is known as "the smallest jihadist in the world." Abdelhamid’s father Omar Abaund filed a lawsuit against his son because of the kidnapping.

Tags: Crime newsTerrorist attacks in ParisJihadist in AthensSecret investigationAbdelhamid Abaund
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